Programmatic for Brands Masterclass – what you missed

Masterclassing’s Programmatic for Brands event brought together senior management from brands with programmatic experts to explore the issues surrounding programmatic advertising and how these can be tackled.

The event, as always, followed the format of short presentations from experts leading to in-depth roundtable discussions, ending with a keynote presentation from Terry Hornsby from Reach PLC (formerly Trinity Mirror).

If you weren’t able to be there, here’s what you missed.

Mike McDougall, strategy director at Stickyeyes kicked things off by handing out a few tips for driving traffic in programmatic.

“The martech landscape is extremely convoluted and confusing,” he said. “I think we’re in a really exciting time – there are new technologies, software, new DSPs, DMPs, everything – the market is really exploding. What that means is that it can be quite a bamboozling and bewildering landscape.”

According to McDougall, brands need to stick to the basics with precise targeting, relevant messaging, and the right timing; they have to make sure their tech stack is fit for purpose; use smart and effective measurement; and think beyond banner and traditional display advertising.

McDougall was followed by Charlie Raper, brand enterprise director at Amobee, who looked at some of the trends occurring in programmatic.

One of the top trends is brands looking to in-house programmatic – Raper stating they are doing this to improve performance and ROI, because it’s cost efficient, to improve control and transparency, to enhance their data and optimisation capabilities, and to improve working media efficiency.

“In-housing is a trend that’s quite popular today,” said Raper. “A lot of the major advertisers all the way down to brands that are purely digital focused are looking at this as a way to improve results and take more control.”

Lani Kakiet, senior solutions consultant at Selligent guided the audience through the uses of artificial intelligence (AI) in programmatic.

She looked at how AI can be used in programmatic to find the best prices that publishers are willing to pay, automatically select publishers willing to bid for impressions, help predict optimal time and likelihood of engagement and conversion, help with context and sentiment, and automatically tag ad inventory.

“AI could be creating videos or producing music for programmatic advertising,” said Kakiet. “There are loads of different opportunities for artificial intelligence in programmatic, but also in the world of marketing itself. The future of artificial intelligence is very exciting.”

Social media – and, in particular, social analysis – was the theme presented by Duncan McCrum, managing director at Fifty.

He showed off the company’s platform, taking those in attendance through a live demo. As part of this demo, he used a Waitrose UK case study, where the firm were able to create segments – or ‘tribes’ – from Waitrose’s social audience in the UK based on what users follow, their common interests, and their mutual connections.

“We analyse audiences based on what they follow, not what they say,” said McCrum. “Social listening accounts for about two to five per cent of social audience, so it’s very hard to look at an audience at scale and get a true representation of who they are. No one lies about what they follow and it allows us to look at 100 per cent of the social audience.”

James Urquhart, enterprise sales director at Adform, gave the final presentation before the roundtables – providing the brands in the room with a programmatic checklist they should follow in order to get their strategy right.

Urquhart highlighted the importance of measurement, having the consumer at the heart of everything a brand does, having creative that is going to fuel campaigns and ambitions, and having the right controls in place.

The day was brought to a close by Terry Hornsby, director of digital solutions at Reach PLC, who presented how Reach, as a publisher, uses programmatic and why brands need to embrace it.

He highlighted how programmatic can be used to provide real-time feedback, brand awareness and marketing of scale, and help in achieving goals and KPIs. Meanwhile, it enables brands to “spend a little and learn a lot” and decide whether to in-house or not. In Reach’s case, it also enables it to build segments over time – but with a higher frequency.

“Use programmatic to your advantage. Due to the fact it’s all automated, you and your agencies and publishers can work to make it right for you. Just try, because a lot of people don’t want to try something different. So, try something different, build creative relationships.”